The $99 TouchPad fire sale was the best way to close the book on webOS and the TouchPad itself. It got the TouchPad into the hands of the fans. Only those that cared about the product lined up outside of Best Buy to grab one of the cheap notebooks. It’s also probably safe to say that most of these people do not have any interest in HP’s crapware notebooks. These people just wanted a solid tablet for a great price.
HP, you should have taken your win and walked home. But you didn’t. You’ve screwed up. Again.
The TouchPad’s story is a sad one. A product born out of Palm’s inspiring vision for the future of mobile and HP’s expertise at killing innovation. Despite featuring a solid operating system, the product landed with a thud and only webOS die-hards opted for the $499 TouchPad. HP announced just 7 weeks after it launched that it was killing all webOS hardware development and would clear out the remaining supply for just $99, which sold out nearly overnight.
The story all along was that another batch of TouchPads was coming. Retailers and even the HP website had sign-up pages to notify potential buyers of available TouchPads. But here we are, a couple months later, and the $99 TouchPad hasn’t resurfaced.
However, the TouchPad has randomly popped up at different retailers, but there is often a major caveat. Best Buy got a round of 32GB $150 TouchPads late last month but they were only available for purchase with an HP notebook. Then Tiger Direct (and sister site, Circuit City) started selling the TouchPads but only with an expensive accessory pack, bringing the price up to $279. Then, just today, Office Depot’s Black Friday ad leaked showing a TouchPad deal similar to that found at Best Buy; buy any HP PC and get a 32GB TouchPad for $150.
You just know somewhere deep in the corporate machine that is HP, an overpaid executive and his team of cronies thought up this scheme. “People want the TouchPad, right? Alright, then let’s make a quick buck off these people. If they want one, we’re going to force people to buy one of our cheap, adware-filled notebooks. Oh, and we’ll pull support for the TouchPad or, maybe, half-heartedly support it for the stragglers.”
This isn’t about capitalism or free trade. HP had a chance to make some friends and earn some good will. The TouchPad is clearly not worth anything to HP. The first fire sale demonstrated that. Now they’re using it as a bait, waving it in front of potential buyers, just hoping to trick someone into buying one of their crappy notebooks. HP has every right to make a buck but sometimes it’s worth foregoing a tiny bit of additional revenue to earn some respect. After years of self-destructive behavior, HP needs respect more than anything else.